New Financial System Introduced
A new Budget and Public Expenditure Management System (BPEMS), which would be the bedrock for all Government financial management transactions will become operational from December 1, this year.
The Controller and Accountant General's Department has begun a three-day regional training workshop on the new system at the Institute of Local Government Studies in Accra for about 180 participants drawn from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Mr John Prempeh, Controller and Accountant General told the workshop that the BPEMS which was a core component of the Public Financial Management and Reform Program (PUFMARP) was to ensure an efficient implementation of the budget, with adequate flexibility to the MDAs in the management of their programs and projects.
He said it would also enable the Ministry of Finance to maintain an oversight for macro-economic stabilization. He said a review of Government Public Accounting and Financial Management Systems, which initiated PUFMARP in 1993 highlighted problems such as weak expenditure, monitoring and control systems and lack of proper accounting and monitoring systems.
Mr Prempeh said the BPEMS would improve internal control systems, support the business process of the Government and the Modified Accrual concept of accounting within the public sector.
He said to aid the new system, high powered computer systems and communication infrastructure were being installed in the various plot implementation sites, adding that in all 67 sites would be involved in the first phase, including the Office of the President, Parliament (Public Accounts Committee) and the Ministry of Finance.
Mr Prempeh said a comprehensive seven segment Chart of Accounts had also been designed for accounting and reporting on financial transactions. In an address, Sheikh I.C. Quaye, Greater Accra Regional Minister, observed that weaknesses such as the lack of proper accounting and a more efficient data collection system plagued the Public and Financial Management systems in the country.
He said this was most unfortunate, since those deficiencies were most crucial to the development of the country. Sheikh Quaye noted that the system would ensure better accountability and urged the participants to make as much use as they could of the workshop. Professor Sam Wood, Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies, said education on the new system was most important, noting that several reforms failed because of inertia, vested interests and lack of understanding.
He said the successful implementation of the new system lay chiefly in its being well understood.